5 cricketers who got away with ball-tampering very easily

The video in which a devastated and teary-eyed Steven Smith apologizes to the cricket fraternity has sent across a wave of pitiful emotion on social media.

It is being argued that the treatment being meted out to the Australian skipper is partial since historically, there have been several incidents of ball-tampering, which were either given an easy punishment, or were not even reported in the first place.

Here’s looking at 5 such instances from the past when cricketers easily got away with the same ‘crime’ as Smith’s.

Trescothick used mint-induced saliva to alter the ball

Trescothick used mint-induced saliva to alter the ball

#5 Marcus Trescothick – the tampering helped England win the Ashes after 18 years

Former England batsman Marcus Trescothick mixed mint with his saliva, with which he altered the ball and helped England record their first Ashes win in 18 years. Nobody reported the incident until Trescothick himself revealed his wrongdoing in his autobiography.

“It had been common knowledge in county cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing,” Trescothick wrote in his autobiography.


#4 Michael Atherton, England 

Atherton tampered the ball using the dirt on the pitch

This incident of ball-tampering is not news for those who followed cricket in the early 1990s. Former England captain Michael Atherton collected dirt from the pitch, put it in his pocket, applied it on the ball and was caught on camera doing all of it.

Now a journalist, Atherton was not reprimanded by the then ICC match referee Peter Burge, despite his wrongdoing coming to the fore. However, the England Cricket Board, realising the triviality of the issue, had imposed a generous fine on the cricketer.

For a captain to cheat the game, and being let off without any charges, would have caused a huge protest in current times.


#3 Chris Pringle, New Zealand

The former Kiwi pacer scratched the ball with a bottle top

Former New Zealand pacer Chris Pringle tampered the ball in his very debut Test series, which was against Pakistan. The unlawful tampering of the ball helped the medium pacer claim away 11 wickets in the third Test at Faisalabad, on a wicket which was closest in its behaviour to being batting-friendly.

Technology back then was not too advanced, which is why his wrongdoing was not caught by anyone. However, Pringle himself revealed after his retirement that he tampered the ball using a bottle top to scratch it.

Pringle wrote in his autobiography – “Neither umpire showed any concern or took any notice in what we were doing even though, at the end of the innings, the ball was very scratched.” 


#2 Stuart Broad, England

It was suspected that Broad tampered the ball using the spikes of his shoes

England pacer Stuart Broad was clearly caught stepping on the ball with the spikes of his shoes in a Test against South Africa. He stopped a moving ball with the help of his shoes, stepped on it and later dismissed the tampering saying he was lazy to stop the ball with his hands.

The opponent players complained about it, but no formal charges were laid and no inspection was made. In fact, former England captain Nasser Hussain had later confidently said that Broad had cheated, adding that “if a player from another country did the same, we’d have said they were cheating.” 


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